How to Service your AC Unit

Introduction

Having lived through summer in the Middle East, you develop a new found respect for your Home Air Conditioning Units. Whether this respect stems from appreciation or just plain fear servicing your AC units before the summer season can help eliminate breakdowns which seem to always happen at night or during the weekend. In this article, we highlight the items to be checked when servicing a split Air Conditioning Unit.

Parts of a Split AC System

A Split AC is made up of 2 units, the outdoor unit, and the indoor unit. The outdoor unit producesClean AC coil filter cooling by means of a compressor and condenser coils. The indoor unit transforms this cooling into cold air by removing heat from the surrounding air via evaporator and pushing it into the desired space to be cooled.

Servicing the Outdoor Unit

Before starting any servicing you must ensure that the power switch for the unit is turned off.

Start by cleaning the Condenser Filters and removing any debris, dust, and Sand. The condensers are the main radiators and their job is to dissipate the heat. If the filter is blocked this function cannot be achieved.  Use a power-sprayer to ensure the filters are fully cleaned. We also recommend that you use Foam Coil Cleaner. Check the Condenser Fan and make sure it is rotating smoothly. Add lubricant if needed.

Check the level of coolant gas pressure. The gas provides the effective cooling which cannot be achieved if the level of gas is low. Drops in Levels could be as a result of a leak which needs to be located and repaired. The quality of the gas is important to ensure its stability and consistency. Make sure you are getting good quality gas before any top-up.

Check AC Gas level

Filter Dryers keep the gas dry so that it can be effective in its job. This filter must be checked for proper operation and that there is no blockage.

The Compressor is responsible for circulating the coolant in the system under pressure. Check the electrical and mechanical condition of the compressor.

Servicing the Indoor Unit

The indoor unit is usually located over the false ceiling and is accessible through the service panel. ThesAC service Filter cleane units are also wall hung in some cases. The indoor unit is also referred to as the Evaporator.

Clean the Evaporator air filter with soap and water after tapping to remove excess dust. Cleaning the Evaporator air filter ensures unobstructed airflow through the unit. The filter should also be disinfected using the soap and water to ensure good quality air by eliminating bacteria. Removal of the filter should not be difficult but consult the unit’s manual if you face difficulty.

Check for damage to fan blowers or noise from the fan motors.  Realign the fan motor and tighten the mounts.

Check for blocked evaporator wastes/drains.  This is caused by dirt build up from the evaporator and should be cleared. Failing to do so can lead to water leakage.  Clean the Evaporator Trays from dirt and grease and disinfect to avoid bacteria growth.

Conclusion

Keeping your AC maintained not only avoids you the horror of a breakdown during summer, it also saves you money on energy and extends the lifespan of your unit. If you are not one for doing such tasks yourself you can easily check the maintenance section at buldingbling.com to acquire the services of a professional technician. In all cases, you should ensure that your technician covers the points stated above which if done correctly should take up to an hour per AC.

buildingbling>Maintenenace>HVAC Systems

March 31st, 2018|0 Comments

The Importance of Vetting Subcontractors and Supply Vendors

At some point, every construction company must work with supply vendors and outside contractors to complete specialized work that their in-house manpower simply can’t provide. The challenge lies in determining which vendors and subcontractors are the most reputable and reliable.

Third party subcontractors and suppliers are a direct reflection of your business. It’s essential for all construction companies and project managers to properly vet their subcontractors and supply vendors to ensure they are qualified to produce the best work/product on time, within budget, according to safety regulations and to the highest quality standards.

Subcontractors and Vendors Reflect Your Business

Dealing with underperforming subcontractors and subpar supply vendors can quickly become a nightmare. A subcontractor or vendor who fails to deliver the materials and services you need to complete your building project can be extremely detrimental to your reputation and your bottom line.

Poor subcontractors and suppliers disrupt workflow, create delays for other scheduled subcontractors and can propel your work costs through the roof. Subpar work and supplies can cause safety hazards and undermine the integrity of the entire project. Not to mention, when it comes to your construction company’s reputation, one bad review can lead to unfathomable damage to your business’s reputation.

The good news is this can be avoided by adequately vetting your subcontractors and supply vendors.

Hire Credentialed Contractors

As educational and industry requirements have changed, the supply of skilled craftsmen and suppliers continues to diminish. After soliciting requests for project bids, be sure your selection process includes a careful evaluation of the contractor’s tradesmen.

Look for a contractor who cultivates a team of a long-term worker compared to hiring a local crew for each job. Ask the potential contractor to provide a list of their workers and request their industry experience, education and credentials, and job histories. If this information is not available, think twice before hiring.

Hire Contractors with the Right Equipment

Never underestimate the importance of hiring a contractor with the right equipment to get the job done. Inappropriate or underperforming equipment can add to the time it takes to complete a project.

When it comes to your reputation, remaining on the schedule is essential to customer satisfaction. Immediate access to the equipment and tools needed to complete a job makes the difference in whether or not your contractor can stick to your project timeline.

Ask For References and Client Testimonials

Subcontractors and suppliers with a solid reputation will have no problem producing references from previous jobs and clients. Be sure to ask for their work history, including the scope of work completed, jobs performed and for references from previous clients. Additionally, ask any potential contractor or vendor if they are currently involved in any open disputes over previous work or services rendered.  

It’s also a good idea to inquire about a subcontractor’s schedule of upcoming jobs. This will ensure they can handle your project without overextending their resources and manpower.

Financial Inquiry

When it comes time to hire a subcontractor or supply vendor always inquire about their financial strength and stability to handle your proposed job. Details such as annual contract volume, sales volume, and net worth will provide a great snapshot of their ability to handle your project volume.

A quick review of financial details may reveal red flags, to include more debt than equity or a lack of working capital. Subcontractors often supply plenty of materials up front, and you want to make sure they can handle these potential costs before they start any project.

Require Strong Quality Controls

This goes hand in hand with your subcontractor directly representing your construction business. If their work is subpar or inadequate, you will be left handling the damage control. Quality control and quality assurance (QA/QC) programs help to ensure the work will stand the test of time.

QA/QC ultimately prevents warranty work and reduces the potential for construction defect claims down the road. When vetting potential subcontractors and suppliers, ask about their QA/QC programs. If they don’t have any systems in place, you may want to move onto the next applicant.  

Subcontractor and Vendor Assistance

Hiring a subcontractor or supply vendor can prove to be a daunting task. If you follow the above tips you’ll be well on your way to selecting a candidate that will get the job done to your construction companies impeccable standards. However, it’s perfectly natural to want a little assistance to ensure you’re making the right selection.

At Building Bling our online portal is designed to connect construction companies and project managers with qualified, reputable subcontractors and suppliers. With hundreds of contractors and vendors available for review at the tip of your fingers, you’ll save the time and money associated with hiring the wrong construction products or service provider.

Our secure online platform allows you to vet products and services, their appropriateness for your proposed use, their previous work history, safety history, client feedback, and much more. Best of all, once you find your ideal subcontractors and vendors, you’ll build a solid network to partner with for years to come.

November 19th, 2017|0 Comments

How To Calculate Man-Hour Rates for Construction in Dubai

Overview:

Labor cost constitutes a substantial portion of the total cost of construction. In this post we provide a guide for putting together an accurate Rate per Man-hour particularly tailored for Construction Works in the Emirate of Dubai.  In building up the rate we divide the rate into 6 cost groups. These groups are the Salary, recruitment and Visa Costs, Transportation Cost, Food and Accommodation Costs, Overhead Cost, and Personal Protection Equipment Cost. Items to consider in each group and how to compile the final rate are detailed below.

Salary

We define Salary as the Basic salary which the labor will receive directly, excluding any allowances. This amount varies with level of skill and experience. Nationality also plays a role in determining the salary range as it depends on comparable work opportunities back home and competition fueled by demand from other countries. Basic salaries can range from as low as AED 750/month up to AED 2000/month or even more depending on the factors stated above. Overtime hours are marked up from the regular work hours in accordance with the Labor Law and should be taken into account in the calculation.

Recruitment and Visa Cost

Recruitment costs include the costs of sending a company representative for interviews, fees to be paid to manpower agencies, costs of test centers if applicable, and the air tickets to fly the labor into Dubai, among other applicable costs.

Visa Costs will differ and may be amended from time to time but in general will include the following as applicable to the Emirate of Dubai:

  • Reserve Quota- AED 350
  • Job Offer Letter- AED 60
  • Work Permit- AED 2060
  • Visa Process in Immigration- AED 440
  • Labor Contract- AED 60
  • Medical & Em-post- AED 555
  • Emirates I.D- AED 275
  • Visa Stamping on Passport- AED 560
  • Labor Card- AED 50
  • Bank Guarantee- AED 3030

In case of attracting labor already present in Dubai an additional fee of AED 1300 will be charged for changing the existing Visa status. We recommend that the listed fees and requirements be confirmed with the local authorities before adopting them in your calculation as they are subject to changes.

Visas are usually valid for 2 years, therefore this cost should be spread over a 24 month duration.

Transportation Cost

It is common practice in Dubai for the Company to provide transport for labor from the Labor Camp to the work site and back. Costs to be considered are as follows:

  • Bus rental or depreciation cost
  • Fuel charges
  • Service and Maintenance allowance
  • Driver Salary and allowances

 

Food and Accommodation Cost

Food cost can either be an allowance (typically ranging between AED 250/month to AED 350/month) or company provided catering. Company provided catering could either be procured through a specialized Vendor or by employing company cooks. Typical costs for employing company cooks include:

  • Salary for Catering staff including allowances
  • Kitchen Utensils
  • Cooking ranges and consumables
  • Food ingredients

Cost for Accommodation include the following:

  • Camp Rent- This Depends on the location and condition of the labor camp. As an example a camp room with a capacity to accomidate 6 people in Dubai Investment Park can set you back AED 3900/month. This results in a cost per head of AED 650/month. Care should be taken in selecting a camp approved by the authorities as a Labor accommodation.
  • Utilities (Water and electricity) – In some cases this cost is included within the room rental rate.
  • Camp Staff- Camp Boss, Security, Janitors
  • Maintenance allowance
  • Accommodation furniture and fittings (Beds, Mattress, Bed sheets, blankets, …)
  • Laundry expenses
  • Entertainment

 Overhead Cost

Overhead costs to be considered include the following:

  • Severance Pay at end of service (as per labor law)
  • Paid Leave + Air ticket
  • Public holidays and rest days
  • Sick Leave
  • Mandatory Health Insurance (this depends on the insurance plan but on average the basic plan will cost you AED 750/year)
  • Allowance for medical expenses including deductible at hospitals and clinics and cost of medicine

 

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

In order to ensure the safety of labor on site, all labor are required to use personal protection equipment. This will differ from trade to trade and includes helmets, safety jackets, coveralls, safety shoes, gloves, googles, ear protection, fall protection harness, amount others. Rates and prices will differ based on quality and intended use. It is preferable that you contact a specialized Vendor to obtain accurate rates, where a list of such vendor can be found on buildingbling.com under General Requirements.

Depending on the PPE requirements and replacement frequency the cost is calculated and factored into the Labor rate.

 

Compiling the Rate

After having aggregated the total costs per month for the Salary, Recruitment and Visa, Transportation, Food and Accommodation, Overhead, and PPE the total monthly cost is divided by the number of work days per month and again divided by 8 Work hours per day to arrive at the Man-Hour Rate. Care should be given for work days above 8 hours per day and work during rest days (Fridays) and public holidays as an overtime factor should be applied in accordance with the Labor law. This should be factored into the Rate to arrive at the final composite Man-Hour Rate.

 

 

November 6th, 2017|0 Comments

The Importance of Social Media and the Construction Industry

Almost every industry in the UAE and around the world has established some sort of social media presence. Yet, the construction industry has been very hesitant to fully embrace social media as a tool to expand industry awareness.

According to Internet Live Stats, Google processes over 40,000 searches every second on average. This translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. The larger your social media presence, the more likely your website will gain traction and generate leads.

 

In recent years, construction professionals and businesses are engaging through social media. However, many organizations don’t fully understand the benefits of establishing and maintaining an online presence. Construction firms and professionals who don’t fully utilize the benefits of social media are missing out on significant opportunities and additional revenue. The professionals at Building Bling have created a list of the most important benefits to leveraging social media within your construction firm.

 

Increase Online Traffic

Social media empowers construction firms, service vendors and consultants to connect with potential customers, directing them back to their websites. As you build your social media presence, you’ll share links, which in turn will lead potential clients to contact you or your website for more information. Additionally, your social media posts will serve as social backlinks, which benefit your Google search ranking. The higher your search ranking, the more likely you are to generate leads.

Increased Brand Awareness

One of the most obvious benefits to using social media is found in the promotion it offers your business, increasing your brand awareness. The various social media networks, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, serve as platforms for your brand, placing a sort of face to your organization and brand. These platforms provide a space for you to share ideas, industry trends, and innovations while simultaneously establishing your brand as one of the top construction companies.

Whether your target audience is smaller home projects or large corporations with massive project requirements, your potential clients will look for your services on social media. When used properly, social media helps potential clients find your organization and not the competitor.

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse

Social media provides a key avenue for construction companies to keep their finger on the pulse and on the forefront of industry trends and best practices. Not only does social media provide the perfect setting to gain inspiration, but it also helps you to engage with potential customers to find out what they are looking for and with industry competitors to find out what they are offering.

Inspiration and Research

In addition to the marketing benefits, social media is beneficial for inspiration and research. The various social media platforms allow you and your organization to start a discussion, sharing relevant information and relevant industry knowledge while connecting directly with your potential client. Social media also serves as the direct point of contact for new clients, while allowing your existing customers to share their feedback and experiences with your organization.

Social media connects the world, empowering individuals and organizations to establish professional connections. Platforms such as LinkedIn and Building Bling also allow you and your organization to establish strong supplier relationships, connecting you with the ideal vendor or service provider for your next big project.

At Building Bling, we connect all of the moving pieces within the construction industry. Whether you are a vendor, consultant, contractor, developer or private owner, our digital platform serves as the bridge to connect you with potential clients and industry partners. Contact us today to learn more about how the professional at Building Bling can help with your next construction project.

October 29th, 2017|0 Comments

Driving your Construction Project through procurement

So all your hard work and nerve-racking nights have finally paid off and you’ve been awarded the construction project you’ve been bidding for! Now the only thing left is to build it. Although this seems like a fairly straightforward task but as most construction professionals know, projects are made up of smaller specialized construction packages commonly referred to as subcontract packages and finding the right subcontractor or vendor in a timely manner and within the budget can make or break a construction job. In this article we present the 7 steps to procuring your project to success.

Step 1: Setting the Plan

The procurement process is a great undertaking that requires proper planning. As such, the first step entails preparing a procurement plan. In order to do that, the project team must decide on the project packaging strategy. The total project should be divided into manageable packages delineated by a common scope. When doing this, the team should take into account the capabilities of Vendors and subcontractors in the market and resource availability. The procurement plan should indicate when the package is required on site (deadline) and work backwards to list the dates for package preparation, floating enquiries, technical review, commercial review, award recommendation, award approval, and lead time. The procurement plan should be populated and updated at regular intervals to avoid delayed package commencement.

Step 2: Prepare the packages

Care should be taken in preparing the work packages in order to avoid long pricing durations by vendors / subcontractors, scope gaps, duplicate scope, and variations & claims down the line. This will require the input and engagement of all the project team. Avoid including unrelated project documents in the package and clarify the scope to the greatest extent possible.

Step 3: Build your Vendor List

Selecting whom to include in your vendor list for each package is a paramount step. Failure of a vendor or subcontractor to deliver can jeopardize your project and put your organization at great risks. We cannot stress more the importance of selecting specialized partners that have the capabilities and the proven track record to carry out the job. Exploring new vendors and Subcontractors is very beneficial to an organization but we recommend that you take your time in vetting them and obtaining feedback from their previous clients. Buildingbling.com have dedicated an online portal for providing Engineering and Construction professionals with a platform for exploring and selecting the right specialized partners to successfully carry out their projects and share their experiences.

Step 4: Send Enquiries to your Vendors

Send out the tender enquires or Request for Quotations to your vendor list on or before the date specified in your procurement plan. Make sure you include instructions to your vendors and subcontractors on how you want them to present their offers and the scope for which they should price. This will ensure a common basis for comparing offers in what is referred to as “apple to apple” comparison. Also we recommend that you include details of the commercial terms and agreements that you intend to enter into with the successful bidder in order to avoid a long drawn out commercial negotiations process. Make sure you include a clear deadline for the submission of offers. Give particular importance to early work packages such as mobilization works, earthworks, Thermal & moisture protection, Concrete Works, and MEP works to name a few.

Step 5: Comparing the Offers

Once you receive all the offers, comparisons should be made on a technical and commercial basis. The technical team should ensure that the proposals submitted are as per project requirements and in compliance with the drawings, specifications, and schedules. Consider creating a compliance schedule to ensure that all bidders meet the requirements. The commercial team should create a comparison sheet for the prices making sure that there are no exclusions or scope gaps. If acceptable exclusions are present then these should be priced and added to the bid to ensure a fair comparison.

Step 6: Recommendations and Approvals

Once the technical and commercial comparison is done the project team should convene and render a recommendation. This recommendation should take into account the technical offer and the resulting price. If all vendors and subcontractors are not at par technically then we strongly discourage rendering a recommendation on a purely financial basis. The result may be a costlier recommendation if the selected vendor / subcontract fails to deliver, does not cover the full scope, or is not in compliance with the project requirements. Once final management approval and in some cases the approval of the Employer and the Consultant is secured you can proceed to the final step.

Step 7: Issuing the Order and Kicking off the Package

The final step in engaging a vendor / subcontractor should be formalized by issuing an order, be it through formal agreement, purchase order or any other contractually binding method. It is also recommended to kick off the package on site through a kickoff meeting where both parties introduce the team that will be dedicated for the Job and list out the submissions and requirements to initiate the works. The protocol for communications should be set along with the safety, Quality Assurance /Quality Control and planning requirements during the Kick-off meeting.

Projects are made up of smaller manageable work packages, which if procured the right way, should to be driven by suitable specialized vendors and subcontractor. This will lead to a successful and profitable outcome to all parties. To achieve this, the project team should set the procurement plan, prepare the work packages, send out enquires, compare the offer technically and commercially, issue their recommendation and obtain approvals, and formalize the selection to kick off the package and complete the project to the required quality, on time, and within budget.

October 21st, 2017|0 Comments

Introducing Building Bling

Buildingbling.com is an online portal specialized in connecting users seeking to find construction products and services with the right sources that provide them. Whether you are a vendor, a contractor, a consultant, a developer, or an individual looking to find or showcase construction products and services, Buildingbling.com is your tool. Our portal is designed in a familiar and structured manner based on industry standards. We aim to save you the time and money wasted in making wrong selections in sourcing your construction products and services by providing you with a platform that allows the user to vet products and services, their suitability for your intended use, the profiles of those providing them, and the feedback of those that have used them before.

Building Bling’s Vision

Our Vision is to become the Main portal for seeking and finding construction products and services and exchanging construction information and industry know how.

Building Bling’s Mission

Our Mission is based on the following principles:

– To use the power of the Internet and social media to create an instantly accessible bridge between sources of construction knowledge and those that seek it.

– To provide users with a platform, which allows them to search and find their exact construction related requirements or showcase their products and services in a familiar and structured manner.

– To facilitate the sharing of information, know how and its sources.

August 2nd, 2017|0 Comments